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Posts tagged “Dark Fiction

Weird Review: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, Edited by Terry M. West

23124134Title: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction

Editor: Terry M. West

Publisher: Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Number of Pages: 297

Format: Print (Electronic)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned

Sating that appetite for the weird while supplementing the idea of found footage, Terry M. West and Pleasant Strom Entertainment, Inc. have manifested from dark vaults, Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. 29 uncomforting tales of delusion and terror that will have you locking your doors, checking your phone settings and finding your journal so you can chronicle the onset of madness that may inevitably take hold. 29 authors who were fortunate enough to be released from their own straightjackets to pen some disturbing literature, instead of screaming their tales or spelling them out in missives with their medication. Oh, but enough with the Crypt Keeper treatment, lets open up this dark tome.

Anything from sensationalized pulp, to eloquent horror will be found while traveling through these pages. I myself found many of the stories to be entertaining, yet there were few that made me pause my reading and recollect my thoughts. Those were the best tales. There were stories that read like standard weird fiction, and some that read like submissions to Creepy Pasta. However, though these tales are works of fiction, the tales that teetered on the edge of truth were the ones that dragged me in. Some of these entries, for example; West’s “Bagged, Tagged & Buried,” Rolfe’sKilling Jessica” and Leflar’sLetter to Grandma,” exhibited masochistic tastes with dashes of schizophrenia and paranoia for flavor which, along with some other minor ingredients, developed a fun psychotic recipe for great found fiction. Bellow is a list of the stories and the authors behind them.

Now, not having read much “found fiction,” I began to wonder if this is/would/could be a new genre of fiction. Yet after a second thought, and reading, I believe that found fiction is more likely a subgenre rather than a leading criteria for any fiction. After all, some of the best stories in history are technically “found fiction.” Brom Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or more notably, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu. Though I know Dracula and Frankenstein are more well known than Lovecraft’s work, I can’t help but first think of The Call of Cthulhu first because of it’s opening statement, “(Found Among the Papers of the Late Francis Wayland Thurston, of Boston)”

Though TCoC isn’t an epistolary formed story like Dracula or Frankenstein, by simply stating that the documents were found and are reviewed (within the story) simply opens the door for use of the term found fiction. Yet the reason I claim that found fiction would be best suited as a sub genre, is due to the fact that the three classics I mentioned are primarily categorized as horror fiction, or even in the case of H.P.’s story, weird fiction. Any genre can contain the elements of found fiction, though they may not be as potent as a horror setting, they are out there.

It took me longer than I originally expected to get through this book, as I am sure it took longer than Mr. West anticipated for me to complete the reading and an honest review in exchange for some pretty thought provoking and unsettling fiction. In that regard I ranked this collection a 3 out of 5 stars. The book could have been condensed to 20 tales and maintained a stronger consistency of quality, and a more digestible overall length of the book. As you may see above I marked, with a *, certain stories as favorites or plots that when looking back stick out the most in my mind. I have more selections from Terry M. West’s library of publications; such as, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed: A Baker Johnson Tale, What Price Gory?, and Heroin in the Magic Now, along with a couple others. I am excited to dive into those soon and share my thoughts with everyone.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, or stuff from Terry M. West have also checked out:

If you have checked out Halloween Tales, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Weird Review: Halloween Tales, Edited by Kate Jones

halloween talesTitle: Halloween Tales

Editor: Kate Jones

Publisher: Omnium Gatherum

Number of Pages: 230

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars aligned

Some of the best pens of the Los Angeles chapter of the Horror Writers Association have been conjured by Omnium Gatherum to summon tales of fear and fancy for this Halloween season. 19 tales from literary horror veterans and newbies to the genre that together make a wonderful coffee table read for the season. As you can see by my rating I wasn’t too impressed with the contents of this book, however there are few pieces of sweet fiction in this candy sack that outshine the other sour suckers and kept me going through the collection in hopes of finding other good pieces at the bottom of the bag.

Unfortunately there weren’t many of these stories that left me chilled or stunned. If not for stories like Terry M. West’s “The Hairy Ones, and bits and pieces of Steven W. Booth’s “The Lurker” I would not have felt those feelings at all. However I must give full credit and appreciation to Lisa Morton’s “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” and David Winnick’s “The Cross I Bear. ” Those two tales were two amongst a few that were narrated or seen through the eyes of a child or early teen, and I found those stories to be the most interesting. The innocence in Mr. Winnick’s story really left me in aw, though some have said it was funny, to me it was honest and dark.

Though it’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, I would say it is a nice piece in a collection of stories to have on hand for this time of year. Al 19 tales are easily digestible, and short enough to read in one sitting. True, some are better than others, but that is how a well built anthology is, unfortunately I wish the stories were a little bit more balanced. By that I mean I felt all the greats were in the front of the book and not so much in the middle or tail end. Either way it was good to dive into some suitable fiction for the month and season and am glad to have been introduced to a few of these authors fiction. I will be keeping an eye out for them.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Halloween Tales, or stuff from Omnium Gatherum, have also checked out:

If you have checked out Halloween Tales, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Weird Review: Cthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft Edited by Solomè Jones

cthulhu livesTitle: Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft

Editor: Salomè Jones

Publisher: Ghostwoods Books

Number of Pages: 272

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned

At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft’s greatest creation becomes restless…

This volume brings together seventeen masterful tales of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s work. In his fiction, humanity is a tiny, accidental drop of light and life in the endless darkness of an uncaring universe – a darkness populated by vast, utterly alien horrors. Our continued survival relies upon our utter obscurity, something that every fresh scientific wonder threatens to shatter.

The dazzling stories in Cthulhu Lives! show the disastrous folly of our arrogance. We think ourselves the first masters of Earth, and the greatest, and we are very badly mistaken on both counts. Inside these covers, you’ll find a lovingly-curated collection of terrors and nightmares, of catastrophic encounters to wither the body and blight the soul. We humans are inquisitive beings, and there are far worse rewards for curiosity than mere death.

The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.


Cthulhu Lives! Or so I have been told, And I believe that is true…to some extent. In fact, in the minds of many of H.P. Lovecraft’s contemporaries, devotees, or worshipers, all his creations are real. Whether taken literally and practicing such worship or devotion with a cult, or simply creating a space in your mind whilst reading Lovecraftian fiction, creations such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth have made their place in our world for better or worse. Yet it is the high priest to The Old Ones himself, Cthulhu, who is most recognizable both in form and in unpronounceable name. Whether it be a symbol of a tentacle faced god, or the megalithic shadow beneath the waves that speaks to you in your dreams, this star spawn has solidified its place amongst most of todays weird/cosmic horror fiction. Cthulhu’s presence within these tales is what connects, not only the stories that lay within the Cthulhu Mythos, but also the authors and readers of said stories under the ever growing membranous Lovecraftian banner. These and more were the thoughts I bore as I dipped my mind into Ghostwoods Books newest anthology of Lovecraftian fiction.

17 very unique tales are what make up this collection. Some better than others, and others way better than some, the satisfying content this book has to offer is evenly distributed throughout. None of the tales are too long, the longest being 18 or so pages, allowing for easy digestible reads.

There are a few authors in this collection, one of them G.K. Lomax, who are emerging authors into both the writing scene and the Lovecraftian scene. Upon my initial inspection of the cast of writers I was expected to read, I was a little weary of the unfamiliar names. However, I was incorrect in my judgment of quality these stories possessed. Not being able to choose only three favorites, I settled on four that I believe were the most memorable and entertaining. Hobstone by G.K. Lomax, On the Banks of the River Jordan by John Reppion, Scritch, Scratch by Lynne Hardy and Icke by Greg Stolze. All four of these tales possessed an essence that I believe to be truly Lovecraftian. It was the vague suggestion at a grander menace, or entity with out necessarily giving it a name or advertently connecting it to the Cthulhu Mythos. It was stories like these that convinced me that this book should have been titled Lovecraft Lives! Simply because of the true theme of cosmic horror and fear of the unknown that Mr. Lovecraft is so aptly known for expanding if not creating.

Unfortunately though, there were just one to many stories that left me with nothing. Either ending so abruptly that it borderline made the story incomplete, or just the shear lack of engaging writing to keep me hooked through out the story. These stories made reading feel like work. All in all it was a pleasant and enjoyable book, wrapping up with a sincere afterword from resident H.P.L. scholar, S.T. Joshi. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for some new ideas and easy reads revolving around the Cthulhu Mythos. I hope to see some of these authors again, and also hope to see more publications from Ghostwoods Books that resemble this style and format.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, or Salomè Jones’s stuff, have also checked out:

If you have checked out Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Weird Review: NOS4A2 by, Joe Hill

NOS4A2_coverTitle: NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill

Publisher: William Morrow (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) 2013

Number of Pages: 704

Format: Print (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars aligned

 

COME TO CHRISTMASLAND

What would you do for a lifetime pass to a place where every morning is Christmas and unhappiness is against the law?

Don’t give up on wonder! Don’t give up on dreams!

We’re looking for go-getters who love children and aren’t afraid of adventure!

 


“NOS4A2 is a fast-paced, wind through your hair, stomach-flipping roller-coaster ride that will make you white-knuckle the binding and refuse to let go. We follow Victoria McQueen, a Brat (as her father lovingly calls her) with enough snotty attitude to earn the name. However, Vic has a quality that will make you fall in love with her: imagination. Through the power of her mind and her Raleigh Tuff Burner bicycle, she is able to dream up ‘bridges’ that allow her to find things. Whether it be a family heirloom, a photograph, or just looking for trouble, Vic is able to find it with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge – a long-destroyed covered bridge that fell into the water. Unfortunately it is this same bridge, and Vic’s adolescent rebellion, that inevitably send her to Charles Talent Manx.”

That is an excerpt from my review of NOS4A2, for Haunt of Horrors Press. As you can probably tell by reading the above passage I am absolutely in love with this book. Hill has accomplished something special with this novel which officially places him in the running with the rest of the worlds best horror writers. Though most already know that he is an offspring of the King himself, he has done a damn good job of writing under his pseudonym, earning his way with the absence of his family name.

Hill utilizes an excellent tool within this horror/fantasy and that is the use of a portal. Both Manx, and Vic find there way through Hill’s “inscape’s” that he has mentioned in his other great novel, Horns. Through these inscapes, Vic, with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge, finds Maggie, a junkie who loves scrabble. She helps explain to Vic how her bike and bridge are part of these inscapes; “Big old hole in reality… I am reaching into my inscape to get the tiles I need. Not into a bag. when I say your bike or my tiles are a knife to open a s-s-slit in reality, I’m not being like, metaphorical.”

These inscapes are an excellent adaptation to the use of the portal tool. Hill has begun to create and expand a new universe that I wish I could join. Whether it be ‘The Treehouse of the Mind,” the Crooked Alley, a sack of scrabble tiles, or a bike, these “knives,” as Maggie calls them, are used to poke a hole in reality allowing the user to manipulate or alter it to there choosing. This opens up so many opportunities for Hill’s characters, and increases anticipation and cravings to see him continue to play around in this realm of thought.

This is a novel that every reader, casual or avid, horror fan or not, should have on their book shelf!

Check out the whole review HERE!

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If you have checked out NOS4A2, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Weird Review: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward By H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard

Charles Dextar WardTitle: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Author: H.P. Lovecraft

Adapted By: I.N.J. Culbard

Publisher: SelfMadeHero

Number of Pages: 128

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars aligned

 “I say to you again…”

Providenc Rhode Island, 1928. A dangerous inmate disappears from a privat hospital for the insane, his method of escape baffling the authorities. Only the patient’s final visitor, family phusician D. Marinus Bicknell Willet – himself a piece of the puzzle – holds the key to unlocking The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. A macabre mixture of historical investigation grave-robbing and bone-chilling revelation, this adaptaion artfully lays bare on of H.P. Lovecraft’s most horrifying creations.

“…do not call up any that you can not put down.”


 

“I.N.J Culbard’s illustrations of Lovecraft’s emotions are amazing and enrapture the reader into a world of questionable identities and the insecurities we all encounter. They are emotions that Lovecraft reserved for himself and, I believe, is the reason he initially withheld the tale in fear of disclosing his own sense of not-belonging during the time of his life.

That is an excerpt from my review of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, for Haunt of Horrors Press. Culbard is at it again, with his beautifully illustrated vision of one of the late Lovecraft’s best works. Any fan of Lovecraftian literature is in need of having this adaptation on their shelves, next to the rest of their moldering tomes. Happy reading!

Check out the whole review HERE!

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, or I.N.J. Culbard’s stuff, have also checked out:

If you have checked out The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Weird Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong

JohnDiesAtTheEnd-001Title: John Dies at the End

Author: David Wong

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Number of Pages: 469

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars aligned

 

 

STOP.

  • You should not have touched this book with your bare hands.
  • No, don’t put it down. It’s too late.
  • They’re watching you.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS THIS:

  • The drug is called soy sauce,  and it gives users a window into another dimension.
  • John and I never had the chance to say no.
  • YOU STILL DO.

If H.P. Lovecraft and Hunter S. Thompson sat down, tolerated each other, got drunk and composed a novel, this book would be the result. David Wong’s John Dies at the End is a witty, comedic horror novel that uncovers the world behind the curtain we call reality, and shines light unto an otherwise known darkness that encapsulates our world, possibly the universe, as we know it.”

That is an excerpt from my review of John Dies at the End, for Haunt of Horrors Press. This is a great book with lots of fun crazy stuff going on inside. If you are a fiend for the weird, then this is a novel you should have in your happy little hands.

Check out the whole review HERE!

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed John Dies at the End have also checked out:

 

If you have checked out John Dies at the End, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Weird Review: For When the Veil Drops

veildropsTitle: For When the Veil Drops

Publisher: West Pigeon Press

Style: Anthology

Number of Pages: 187

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars Aligned

West Pigeon Press is honored to present its newest anthology, a collection of resonant, unbridled dark fiction. Unburdened by genre and disparate in subject, these stories find common cause in their emphasis on mood, style, intelligence, and emotional depth. West Pigeon is proud to release these stories under its banner, and is proud to have you as a reader.

As unorthodox as it may be to admit this on a back copy, the less revealed about these stories – and the more left to the reader to discover – the better.

Once again the folks over at West Pigeon Press are out to strip you of your hopes and sanity with a brand new anthology. That’s right, those who released unto the world, J.R. Hamantaschen’s You Shall Never Know Security now bring us a new dark tome. For When the Veil Drops, is yet another brilliant flame in a dark hall that West Pigeon Press is building. 15 unfiltered short tales that deserve the title of “resonant, unbridled dark fiction,” and make the reader say, “I’ve never read anything like that.” Each one of these stories impacted me in some way, whether it was out of fear or discomfort. It is important to understand when reading these stories, that you don’t judge the literature necessarily by the words on the page, but the mood they put you in.

Not all of the stories are great, and some definitely outshine others, but something that I will admit is every story at some point made me uneasy, or left me feeling freaked out. A couple on my favorites list include Doug Murano’s savage “The Chopping Block,” Michael Wehunt’s epically evil “A Coat that Fell,” BV Lawson’s revenge tale, “Beside Still Waters,” and Samuel Minier’s horrific holiday fable, “The Third List.” I was impressed with the opening story by Christian A. Larsen, “724,” which certainly puts the reader in the mood, and is just how a West Pigeon Press anthology should start, with a big “WTF!?” moment. And wrapping up the anthology is, “Still Life” by Michael Trudeau, with a poignant reminder that the horror is everyday life.

724, by Christian A. Larsen

The Chopping Block, by Doug Murano

The Persistence of Fondu, by Yarrow Paisley

Bless You, by C. Bryan Brown

A Coat That Fell, by Michael Wehunt

The City Underneath, by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Beside Still Waters, by BV Lawson

The Condition She’s In, by Nick Medina

St. Mollusks, by Paul L. Bates

Thicker Than, by Lydia Peever

The Third List, by Samuel Minier

Nothing Bad Has Ever Happened Here, by A. A. Garrison

Oh Abel, Oh Absalom, by J.R. Hamantaschen

Misery Don’t Wait on Me?, by Joshua Clark Orkin

Still Life, by Michael Trudeau

Over all it was a good read. Most of the stories aren’t too long, and some are written smoothly enough to carry you through. I suggest giving it a look if you’re having too many sunny days and you feel like life is great and nothing can go wrong. Because after you read this, you won’t feel the same.

“Does anyone really know the true cost of evil? Or to take it a step further, is the loss of innocence a cause or effect of darkness in the human soul.” – BV Lawson

If you have checked out For When the Veil Drops, let me know what you think. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

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